quality difference in outlets?

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Old 09-21-06, 03:28 PM
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Question quality difference in outlets?

I am replacing a boatload of outlets, switches and plates. There is quite a difference in price between the contractor grade 10 pk's of outlets etc, and the "pro" grade versions. For instance in a recent Lowes ad: 16.90 for Commercial Grounding Duplex Recepticles and 3.40 for Residential Duplex Grounding Outlets. Both 10 packs, 15 amp. That's 5 times as expensive! What makes it worth using the more expensive ones?
 
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Old 09-21-06, 03:45 PM
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heavier duty componets , better made .

I only use the "good ones "
 
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Old 09-21-06, 07:11 PM
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Did you inspect the construction of both receptacles?
Com. grade typicaly has the "clamps" and are of a heavier grade plastic.
Residential are typicaly lighter grade platic and just "compression"type clamps (back stab,wich are not legal).
I've heard rumors also (NO CONFIRMATION) that big box stores get "seconds". I don't buy this knowing they (devices) all must be rated and aproved.

Compare and shop. QUALITY COUNTS.
Either installed properly and within the correct application, will be fine.
 
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Old 09-21-06, 07:15 PM
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lectriclee,

Perhaps where you are backstabs are not allowed, but they are allowed in most places. I wish they weren't, but they are.
 
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Old 09-22-06, 08:46 AM
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I don't use the cheap ones. They are clearly of inferior quality when you hold them side by side with a spec grade. The contractor or spec grade receptacles and mounting tabs are more rigid -- they don't bend inward when you plug something in. Plus the screws and clamps that hold the wires are much more reliable in spec grade devices.

They are worth the extra expense in a room where you plug and unplug on a daily basis like the kitchen, bath, or workshop. Perhaps use the cheapies behind furniture in the living room or something like that, but I don't like them anywhere.
 
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Old 09-22-06, 10:14 AM
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For what it's worth as far as the NEC is concerned a receptacle "grade" is directed towards a specific application. I believe they only recognize four "grades". General Purpose, Hospital, Federal and military.

Spec grade, pro grade, heavy duty, commercial, residential, contractor, industrial etc..etc.. are attempts by the manufacturer to get you to purchase their receptacle based on your intended use. So if you are in a warehouse you may be tempted to buy a industrial grade or commercial grade" if it is labeled as such.
These "grades" are made to UL specifications that are directed towards the environment they will be subjected. UL specifies how these "grades" are to be constructed as to materials in order to meet those requirements.
There are "features" to these grades that make them more attractive to the contractor or consumer. They are "grades" that have different quality aspects above the typical "builders grade". IMO a "back-wired feature" is directed towards stranded wire applications. "Longer" side screws are generally always related to general purpose receptacles that will accept #10 awg wire along with the back-wired feature. Other features like self-grounding clip, wrap around metal yoke and so forth, greater gripping power on straight blades etc...

The cheapie receptacles, the ones you see in bulk in the basket bins are "featureless" and constructed at minimum UL standards.
They are designed for table lamp use and that sort of thing... not continued use where you will be unlugging something regularily. So I wouldnt use them where I'm plugging in my vacuum or Kitchen counters, bathrooms, laundry, shop and the like.

Roger
 
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Old 09-22-06, 10:46 AM
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One question on the self-grounding clip. Is that sufficent to ground the metal box (if you are using metal)? I'm no electrician, but I usually put a grounding screw and pigtail so everything gets grounded together, but since I use the spec-grade recepticals, am I overdoing it?
 
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Old 09-22-06, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Fubar411
One question on the self-grounding clip. Is that sufficent to ground the metal box (if you are using metal)? I'm no electrician, but I usually put a grounding screw and pigtail so everything gets grounded together, but since I use the spec-grade recepticals, am I overdoing it?
The electrical code says that if you have recpticles with the yoke in direct contact with the metal box it is an acceptable ground.

I have never worked for, nor am I an contractor who would agree. The pig tail is the best way, and IMHO the only way to install a recepticle.
 
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Old 09-22-06, 11:19 AM
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Fubar,

The BOX must be grounded via the ground wire (or the conduit, is appropriate). The self grounding clip is used to ground the receptacle from the brounded box.
 
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Old 09-22-06, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
Fubar,

The BOX must be grounded via the ground wire (or the conduit, is appropriate). The self grounding clip is used to ground the receptacle from the brounded box.
And IMHO this is not a quality installation. A pig tail should be run to the box and to the recepticle. or lighting outlet.
 
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Old 09-22-06, 06:45 PM
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The price difference is a small price to pay compared to the labor and hassle of replacing the el-cheap-o receptacles again down the road. Bottom line is spend a little more now and only have to do the job once.
 
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Old 09-22-06, 07:20 PM
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In 40 years of home ownership I have never had to replace a "cheapo" grade of electrical outlet because it failed - in any manner.

With that said, I've done a ton of DIY electrical and always use a better quality grade of outlet whenever I install a new one. Go figure.
 
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Old 09-22-06, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
lectriclee,

Perhaps where you are backstabs are not allowed, but they are allowed in most places. I wish they weren't, but they are.
This could be my mistake - OR the way I was taught.
My understanding is: The clamp is OK. The "STAB" is not.

Anyway, I have fixed more open connections with the later than the previous. So good training or proven failer?
Back stabs are not recomended by me.
 
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Old 09-23-06, 03:54 AM
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Back stabs are prone to failure. I have seen them fail and don't use them, nor do I recommend that they be used.

But they are legal. And they are used all the time.
 
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Old 09-23-06, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by racraft
Back stabs are prone to failure. I have seen them fail and don't use them, nor do I recommend that they be used.

But they are legal. And they are used all the time.
"because they're fast, like a marsupial"

if that makes sense to anybody, let me know. I always get a kick out of who recognizes that reference.


to the pigtail/no pigtail query:
it has been answered but in 2 parts and i just wanted to bring them together.
self grounding devices. all they are considered to ground is the device itself. This only applies if the box is metal. If the box is plastic, a pigtail is still needed to the device.

There is still a need, and in some instances such as concentric knock outs being used for the conduit, a requirement for a ground attached to the box itself. (of course this only applies to metal boxes). If metal conduit and metal boxes are used, the conduit is acceptable for a grounding conductor but if the conduit enters a concentric knock out, a bond bushing is required to maintain continuity with a ground being connected from the bushing to the box. Unless things have changed, an eccentric KO is acceptable without a bond bushing.

note: the last time I looked it up, the previous info was correct. I do not check everything all the time so there may be changes in the NEC that are contrary to the above info.

also: all my devices get pigtails
 
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Old 09-23-06, 10:33 AM
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Concentric and ecentric knockout bonding

Originally Posted by nap
"because they're fast, like a marsupial"

if that makes sense to anybody, let me know. I always get a kick out of who recognizes that reference.


to the pigtail/no pigtail query:
it has been answered but in 2 parts and i just wanted to bring them together.
self grounding devices. all they are considered to ground is the device itself. This only applies if the box is metal. If the box is plastic, a pigtail is still needed to the device.

There is still a need, and in some instances such as concentric knock outs being used for the conduit, a requirement for a ground attached to the box itself. (of course this only applies to metal boxes). If metal conduit and metal boxes are used, the conduit is acceptable for a grounding conductor but if the conduit enters a concentric knock out, a bond bushing is required to maintain continuity with a ground being connected from the bushing to the box. Unless things have changed, an eccentric KO is acceptable without a bond bushing.

note: the last time I looked it up, the previous info was correct. I do not check everything all the time so there may be changes in the NEC that are contrary to the above info.

also: all my devices get pigtails
Bonding around cconcentric or ecentric knockouts is only required on circuits over 250 volts to ground and at services.
 
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